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Kent McClelland

Member, Peace and Conflict Studies Committee

I’m a retired faculty member with a continuing research interest in Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) as a lens for understanding sociology. PCT provides an alternative view of human psychology that takes into account the feedback effects of our own actions on our perceptions of the world around us. Behavior, from this perspective, can be defined as the control of perception, and my recent scholarly work has focused on how social and cultural structures and processes have emerged from the collective control of perception.

Campus Phone: 

(641) 269-3134

faculty info column 1

On-Campus Address: 

302 Broad Street
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States

Education / Degrees: 

Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University, 1976

A.B., Sociology, Oberlin College, 1968



"Social Structure and Control: Perceptual Control Theory and the Science of Sociology.” Forthcoming in Living Control Systems IV, edited by Warren Mansell. Bloomfield, NJ: Benchmark Publications.

Cycles of Conflict: A Computational Modeling Alternative to Collins’s Theory of Conflict Escalation.” Sociological Theory 32 (2014) pp. 100-127. DOI: 10.1177/0735275114536387

Purpose, Meaning, and Action: Control Systems Theories in Sociology, edited by Kent A. McClelland and Thomas J. Fararo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.  2006.

Collective Control of Perception: Constructing Order from Conflict.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 60 (2004) pp. 65-99.

Perceptual Control and Social Power.” Sociological Perspectives 37 (1994) pp. 461-496.

Primary Academic Interest: 

Perceptual Control Theory

Academic Interests: 

Conflict and Conflict Resolution

Social Inequality: Race Class and Gender

Social Welfare Systems


Curriculum Vitae/Resume: